A series of random thoughts composed while pondering why the day off from work is called Labor Day when in fact the actual "labor" takes place on the days that follow:
- A frightening moment for Braves' second baseman Marcus Giles this week when he was told by doctors that he had a heart problem. Turns out, the doctors were wrong and Giles merely has acid reflux, an uncomfortable condition that is so different from a surgery-requiring heart condition that whatever doctor or doctors were involved in the diagnosis should be slapped with either the back of Giles' hand or some kind of malpractice suit.
- On the subject of the Braves, The OCC went out to Shea Stadium last evening (accompanied by Father of OCC and Mother of OCC) to catch a Braves-Mets matchup. And the topic of conversation for much of the night (as the Braves cruised to a tidy 5-0 victory) was time taken between pitches by each team's hurler. A true contrast of styles between Steve Trachsel and Chuck James. At one point in the game, counting out how long each pitcher took from the time he received the ball and the time he threw it, Trachsel clocked in at a brutal 25 seconds, while James came in at 8 seconds. In between just about every pitch, Trachsel had to administer a rub down (to the baseball, you sickos) and clean off his spikes. The diagnosis from Mother of OCC: Trachsel is obsessive-compulsive. Not sure about that, but I think we can all agree he's annoying as hell to watch.
- While perusing some stats last evening (we baseball nerds do this for no good reason from time to time), happened to notice that Frank Thomas is having a truly bizarre season: 30 homers and 8 doubles entering Monday night's game. Obviously Big Frank isn't the fastest man in the world, but it's truly odd for a premium slugger to have so few two-base hits. Can we get our researcher to look into the last time a player had 30+ homers and less than 10 doubles in one year? Has that ever happened? (I am now receiving word that we do not have a researcher.)
- In a mildly disturbing (and now ongoing) trend that began when Yankees' manager Joe Torre recently referred to Angels' infielder Howie Kendrick as a "good-looking young man" apropos of nothing, Rangers' manager Buck Showalter has now jumped on the bandwagon with this gem about his rookie outfielder Nelson Cruz: "There's a lot to like there -- he has a good work ethic and a good face, a lot of skills that he brings to the table." Beg your pardon? A good face? Has Buck completely lost it? At least in Torre's case we were able to infer that he meant to say that Kendrick was an impressive young baseball player, but Showalter just dropped an F (face) bomb completely out of the blue. If he ever starts channeling Captain Oveur from Airplane ("So tell me Nelson, have you ever seen a grown man naked?"), it might be time for Nelson Cruz to politely ask for a trade.
- Lastly, as you most likely have heard by now, the man known to some as Steve Irwin but to most as Crocodile Hunter died on Monday in Australia, killed by a stingray's poisonous barb when it poked a hole in his heart. At the risk of sounding insensitive (a risk that hasn't always deterred The OCC in the past), could Crocodile Hunter have really gone out any other way? Not to say there's any justice in a the man being taken down at age 44 for no clear reason, but in some abstract cosmic way, is this better than if he had died peacefully in his sleep at age 75? Knowing nothing about the man's off-camera persona, you have to wonder what he would think of this. Would he perhaps, knowing what happened to him, give it just the slightest pump of the fist because he knows he was doing what he loved when it all ended? Which is all to say, in the least corny way possible, that though he may have gone too early, The Crocodile Hunter went out like a champion.